Calls for papers


International Journal of Technology Management
International Journal of Technology Management


IPM2022: Special Issue on: "Technology and Innovation Management Perspectives and Challenges in the Transformation of the Global Process Industries to Achieve CO2-neutrality"

Guest Editors:
Prof. Thomas Lager and Prof. Koteshwar Chirumalla, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Mälardalen University, Sweden

Setting the scene

Introducing the "family" of process industries

The "family" of industries generally called "the process industries" spans multiple industrial sectors, constitutes a substantial part of the entire manufacturing industry and is generally considered to include petrochemicals and chemicals, food and beverages, mining and metals, mineral and materials, pharmaceuticals, pulp and paper, steel and utilities (Lager, 2017). While different sectors of the process industries share a number of characteristics related to their production systems, those characteristics significantly differ from the production system characteristics in other manufacturing industries (Lager and Bruch, 2021). Another principal differences between companies in the process industries and those in other manufacturing industries is that the products supplied to and often delivered from the process industries are materials or ingredients rather than components or assembled products (Frishammar et al., 2012). As a result, sectoral experiences from process-industrial technology and innovation management can be shared within the process-industrial cluster but are of less interest for other manufacturing industries. In reference to Wittgenstein's concept of family resemblance (Wittgenstein, 1953), the "family" of process industries is thus similar within itself but dissimilar to other manufacturing industries. Pavitt (1984) argued early that it is important to study sectoral patterns of technology change because it has implications for our understanding of the "dynamic relationship between technology and industry structure, and the formation of technological skills and advantages at the level of the firm, the region and the country." However, findings from Hirsch-Kreinsen (2008) also suggests that the concept of sectoral boundaries has to be conceived more broadly as well as more systematically in order to make it possible to understand the relevant aspects of the courses of technological innovation; a fact recognised in later research (Kohut et al., 2020).

Transformation of the process-industrial landscape in response to sustainability challenges

In the transformation of the process industries to achieve CO2-neutrality, incremental changes will not be enough, and disruptive transitions are most likely needed to keep companies profitable and competitive at the same time (2020), (Liew et al., 2014). Since a huge part of CO2-emissions is caused by energy consumption, the increasing integration of renewable energy, supplemented by energy efficiency improvements will be important steps on this road (Santos, 2013). However, energy transition will not be enough to reach CO2-neutral process industries, as it does not take into account process emissions and carbon-based material flows which cannot be decarbonised by switching energy source. For this reason, carbon loops need to be closed and technologies that enable carbon capture for utilisation present an area of vital importance for innovation in the process industries (Abdul, 2014). However, new technologies will create novel opportunities, novel markets, and novel business models, which may help to find solutions for these industrial challenges (Chirumalla, 2021, Mao et al., 2019). Not only are upcoming sectoral convergencies in this cluster of industries creating new strategic company business opportunities, but the common process-industrial challenges like speeding up the transition to CO2-neutrality, makes cross-sectoral perspectives and collaborative learning a necessity. As the process industries are facing similar challenges, cross-sectorial collaboration can speed up the transition to CO2-neutrality also by joint R&D initiatives. Next to collaboration across process industries, collaboration between process industries and other sectors are needed as value chains reorganise due to changing societal demands as well (Larsson and Wallin, 2020). Especially, close interaction with waste management to better use secondary resources and within the energy sector to make optimal use of renewable energy, will be fruitful approach. Moreover, the intimate coupling between products, process technology and raw materials in the process industries, makes the cross-disciplinary approach in innovation and production management a viable route to follow in the industrial transformation process.

The overarching goal of this special issue, suggested thematic areas of interest, and tentative research questions

We are soliciting submissions of studies that focus on industry dynamics and future complex relationships between companies in different sectors of the process industries in the transformation to achieve CO2-neutrality. In the felicitation of this transformation process we acknowledge a holistic view on products, production technology, and raw materials in the deployment of existing and novel technology and innovation management perspectives, methods and tools. Empirical insight or theoretical and conceptual contributions are also invited to demonstrate how other manufacturing industry's best practices and methodologies might be adapted for improving process-industrial technology and innovation management in meeting sustainability challenges. The Guest Editors will be inviting substantially extended versions of selected papers presented at the 4th International Workshop on Innovation and Production Management in the Process Industries (IPM2022) for review and potential publication, but are also inviting other experts to submit articles for this call.

Selected references:

E. C. 2020. Circular Economy Action Plan: For a cleaner and more competitive Europe.
ABDUL, Q., M 2014. A comprehensive review on energy efficient CO2 breakthrough technologies for sustainable green iron and steel manufacturing. Renewable and Sustainability Energy Reviews, 50.
CHIRUMALLA, K. 2021. Building digitally-enabled process innovation in the process Industries: A dynamic capabilities approach. Technovation, 105.
FRISHAMMAR, J., LICHTENTHALER, U. & KURKKIO, M. 2012. The front end in non-assembled product development: a multiple case study of mineral- and metal firms. Journal of Engineering and Technology Management (JET-M), 29, 468-488.
HIRSCH-KREINSEN, H. 2008. "Low-Technology": a forgotten sector in innovation policy. Journal of Technology Management & Innovation, 3, 11-20.
KOHUT, M., LEKER, J., BRÖRING, S. & SICK, N. 2020. Start-ups as an Indicator of Early Market Convergence. Journal of Business Chemistry, 17.
LAGER, T. 2017. A conceptual analysis of conditions for innovation in the process industries and a guiding framework for industry collaboration and further research. International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development, 9, 189-219.
LAGER, T. & BRUCH, J. 2021. Innovation and production management in the process industries - in search of a conjoint approach. Technovation, 105.
LARSSON, Ö. & WALLIN, P. 2020. Digital transformation in the Swedish Process Industries: Trends, Challenges, Actions. Journal of Business Chemistry, 17.
LIEW, W. T., ADHITYA, A. & SRINIVASAN, R. 2014. Sustainability trends in the process industries: A text mining-based analysis. Computers in Industry, 65, 393-400.
MAO, S., WANG, B., TANG, Y. & QIAN, F. 2019. Opportunities and challanges of artificial intelligence for green manufacturing in the process industry. Engineering, 5, 995-1002.
PAVITT, K. 1984. Sectoral patterns of technical change: Towards a taxonomy and a theory. Research Policy, 13, 343-373.
SANTOS, S. 2013. CCS: Necessary Action to Reduce CO2 Emissions from Energy Intensive Industries. International Energy Agency Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme IEAGHG.
WITTGENSTEIN, L. 1953. Philosophical Investigations, Oxford, Blackwell Publishing.

Subject Coverage
Suitable topics include, but are not limited, to the following:

Level of Analysis:
  • Systems level: How is the systems change conceptualised (multi-level perspective of systems change; socio-technical aspects)? Cross-country comparison
  • Process Industry level: Sectoral level perspectives; sectoral convergencies
  • Company level: How can companies transform their activities to achieve CO2-neutrality in 2045? (Scenarios, pathways, business models, technology road mapping, and digitalisation strategies)
  • Technology and production management level: What innovation methods and best practices are suitable to handle the challenge?
Examples Of Research Questions of Potential Interest:
  • Production capabilities and product life-cycle management in the perspective of circular economy
  • Developing and fostering sustainable innovation cultures in “production oriented” industrial operational environments.
  • Cross-sectoral process-industrial innovation and technology management learning - in search of and fostering adapted and improved management best practices
  • Sustainability perspectives on the product innovation work process
  • Implications of sectoral convergencies on business model development
  • Reconfiguration and orchestration of process-industrial supply/value chains and ecosystems
  • Role of digitalisation and digital technologies for supporting technology and innovation management to achieve CO2-neutrality

Notes for Prospective Authors

Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. (N.B. Conference papers may only be submitted if the paper has been completely re-written and if appropriate written permissions have been obtained from any copyright holders of the original paper).

All papers are refereed through a peer review process.

All papers must be submitted online. To submit a paper, please read our Submitting articles page.

Important Dates

Manuscripts due by: 30 September, 2022

Notification to authors: 31 December, 2022

Final versions due by: 30 March, 2023